Less than one month out from the planned 20th anniversary of the Durban Conference, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) officials have still not decided if they will send a representative to the event.
The first UN conference in Durban in 2001 was a watershed event that demonstrated that the international human rights community had been hijacked by a very ugly and hostile group of activists who were more interested in promoting hatred of Israel than promoting human welfare. The Orwellian, antisemitic anti-racism conference organised by the United Nations also exemplified the systemic bias of the international body.
New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, was asked as early as 13 May 2021 whether New Zealand would be represented at the planned September event. At that time she replied that “I expect advice from my officials on New Zealand’s engagement in advance of this meeting. I will make the Government’s position known once I have considered that advice.”. A similar response was given to a question asked on 05 August 2021, and the Minister has said she is still waiting for advice as at 27 August to a question asked on 17 August.
The answer should be straightforward, as New Zealand decided to boycott the 2001 ‘Durban II’ and the 2009 ‘Durban III’ conferences. At the time of Durban III, then Foreign Minister Murray McCully explained the decision
“When the World Conference Against Racism was held in Durban, South Africa, seven years ago it was extremely contentious. It gave rise to expressions of anti-Israeli views which undermined its focus on genuine anti-racism initiatives… I am not satisfied that the wording emerging from preparatory discussions will prevent the Review Conference from descending into the same kind of rancorous and unproductive debate that took place in 2001.”Foreign Minister, Murray McCully
This year, the United States, Australia, Canada, Israel, the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, and France have already committed not to attend the September anniversary event. Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison has said
“We will not associate Australia with one-sided and contentious language that singles out Israel or an event that champions such language… This is entirely consistent with my government’s very strong voting position on UN General Assembly resolutions, in the Human Rights Council and elsewhere. We will continue that same approach to Durban IV later this year.”
Canada has also voiced concern about the Durban process and committed not to attending the 2021 commemorations. A government spokesperson said
“Canada remains committed, at home and abroad, including at the UN, to advancing human rights, inclusion and combatting antisemitism, islamophobia and systemic racism in all its forms. Canada opposes initiatives at the United Nations and in other multilateral forums that unfairly single out and target Israel for criticism,”
More than 200 people have written to Foreign Minister Mahuta via the Israel Institute of New Zealand urging her to continue New Zealand’s history of boycotting the ‘Durban Conference’ events and join our traditional allies in clearly stating that Aotearoa New Zealand will not attend the ‘Durban IV’ conference scheduled to be held in September.
Apparently she is still waiting for advice. She has indicated that such advice is expected by the end of August. If you’d like to write to her go to https://saynotodurbanracism.nz/.